It’s no secret that UCF Football has struggled to get fans out to Spectrum Stadium. In all 11 seasons UCF has played at Spectrum Stadium (formerly known as Bright House Stadium), they have only had eight sellout crowds. Even during UCF’s magical 2013 season, the Knights only sold out two of their six home games. In a stadium that only holds 44,206 for a school with 60,000+ students, what could be the issue?
COMPETITION: If you look at the highest attended UCF games at Spectrum Stadium, you’ll definitely realize that better competition brings out larger crowds. Out of all eight sellout games, four of them were against ranked opponents, two of them were against South Florida and six of them were against power-conference schools. Both sellouts against non-power conference schools came in the 2007 season which was when UCF had their first taste of success.
If the lack of competition is what’s keeping fans from coming out to support, the rest of the season won’t bode well for the Knights. This Saturday, UCF takes on East Carolina (1-5). The saving grace for this game might be that it’s homecoming week and UCF and East Carolina have a long-standing rivalry. The two home games after that feature Austin Peay (FCS) and UCONN (1-4).
REMAINING SCHEDULING: The Knights opened up the season against FIU on a Thursday night which are notorious for smaller crowds. With the next two home games canceled due to Hurricane Irma, the Knights didn’t play at home again until September 30th against Memphis which was originally supposed to be played against Maine. Maybe fans made alternative plans for that weekend since Maine is an FCS team?
The regular season finale against South Florida should be interesting as well since it’s the day after Thanksgiving. Traditionally, students go home for the holiday but if it’s a Top-25 rivalry matchup, I’ll be curious to see how many students stay behind for the game.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE: UCF isn’t the only American Conference school dealing with attendance issues. South Florida, also ranked in the Top-25, is 7th in the conference for average attendance. The Bulls are averaging 7,000+ less fans than UCF and around 9,000 less fans than they were last year. Check out what SBNation’s The Daily Stampede had to say about attendance issues in Tampa last year and how Charlie Strong is still dealing with the issue.
CONCLUSION: Although UCF is only second in the conference in average attendance behind ECU, there’s no reason these games shouldn’t be sold out to watch a top-25 team regardless of scheduling or competition. The fact that ECU is one of the worst teams in the country yet they’re bringing out more fans than UCF says a lot about each fan base. The Knights won’t get the opportunity to play at a higher level if they can’t fill their stadium and the 2017 Knights have most certainly earned the right to play in front of a sold-out crowd every week.